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MBB: Shelstad rockets up the rankings, and just in time

The guard from West Linn could be the missing piece of Oregon’s puzzle

2023 Nike Hoop Summit Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

In 2017, Oregon had seemingly everything it needed for a run to the Final Four, and that’s exactly where the Ducks ended up. But aside from Dylan Ennis’ good health, Dillon Brooks’ late-game heroics, and Jordan Bell and Chris Bocher’s stellar rim protecting, there was an unsung hero to the group: Peyton Pritchard.

One thing the 2016 Ducks, who earned a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lacked was a true point guard. Casey Benson had done his best to try and fill that role, but he was clearly a 2 guard, and the same became apparent of Ennis once he was back on the floor.

Pritchard, from West Linn, stepped into that role as a true Freshman. Oregon commit Jackson Shelstad, also hailing from West Linn, will most likely have to take that job upon his shoulders as well. And like Pritchard, he could be a quiet hero for the Ducks.

The Ducks will be set at Center, Forward, and 2 guard in 2023-24 thanks to a bevy of returners and blue chip recruits. The floor general position, however, should be Shelstad’s to take.

Fortunately, the young man seems to be hitting his stride at just the right time.

Shelstad was the four-star commit in Oregon’s top tier 2023 recruiting class, which includes 5-stars Mookie Cook and Kwame Evans. Initially ranked as the nation’s No.62 prospect by Rivals, Shelstad climbed all the way up to No.28 in 2023 and is flirting with 5-star status.

The Les Schwab Invitational, which helped mold local talents Kevin Love and Kyle Singler on their way to the NBA as well as many out-of-state prospects that wound up playing in Oregon, was a real eye-opener as to how much of an impact Shelstad could have.

He had 21 points against Barlow, 43 against Tualatin, 38 in an upset of the Bronny James-led Sierra Canyon, and 30 against Duncanville en route to Tournament MVP honors. In the 2023 OSAA 6A playoffs, he led West Linn to the championship game.

Rivals had this to say of Shelstad; “In a world where versatility is valued above all else, Shelstad has done it all and has done it against high-level competition. No guard in the country is playing better right now.”

Considering the need Oregon currently has for a maestro at the 1, this news could not be any more welcome.